On April 15, the Massapequa Board of Education adopted the 2001-02 school budget in the amount of $106,051,698, a 6.5 percent increase over the current year.
In doing so, the board discussed the continuing growth of our student population (200-300 new students each year), the spiraling cost of health care and the demands of state mandates, as significant reasons why the budget has increased over the current year.
During the budget process, I found most rewarding the fact that we have been able to keep our promises made last year to the community. As promised, we have:
* Strengthened our financial condition by paying off installment debt and beginning to fund long-term liabilities. This will enable us to obtain favorable interest rates on our yearly cash flow borrowing.
* Modernized the Business Office by installing a computerized accounting system, which has provided more accurate records and increased efficiency.
* Implemented a computerized transportation map and routing system, which has provided students with safe, dependable busing and saved taxpayers thousands of dollars in student transportation costs.
* Purchased high-tech software designed to improve maintenance and track utilities usage in our school buildings. This will protect the investment we have made in our school facilities through the recent bond issue.
* Replaced hundreds of textbooks, quadrupled our commitment to training and staff development, begun the rewriting of the curricula at all levels and refocused our efforts to improve student performance.
And, we are able to hold budget growth for next year to below the average in the county.
All of the above is good news for both our students and staff, and our community.
Our budget will be presented for vote on May 15. I look forward to seeing our residents at the various voting sites and answering questions. Please call if you have specific questions prior to the vote.
Dr. Lawrence Pereira